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Old 07-28-2011, 11:29 PM   #1
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What's my career going to be?

I work at an IT company as an engineer, making 60k each year. I like the job, but can't say loving it to death. But recently the bad performance of the company plus incoming massive layoff makes me feel disappointed about the company and the industry.

I start thinking if I have a future with career in the food industry. I can say that I love cooking to death and I look forward to making dinner every day. I just realized that I have been making different dishes for dinner every day no repeat for months! So I'm thinking maybe I'll enjoy being a chef, and I want to become a celebrity chef!

But then I looked up the average salaries a chef makes (not a celebrity chef), I'm surprised how little they make comparing to how hard they work. In my current job, I'm a relatively new and young guy and I easily make twice as much as a chef does at the same level. Besides, a chef's salary usually tops at no more than 85k as an executive chef, which is pretty much my next immediate pay grade promotion, which I will get after a few years of experience.

If I leave the industry and pursue a career as a chef, my immediate concern is that I can't even support my family with the measly salary, without introducing dramatic change to the lifestyle of my family. If I was single and homeless, I would be fine with it; yet I have a wife and daughter to support who don't work.

Now I feel my future is gloomy. I don't really enjoy the job that I'm working, and yet I can't afford to pursue what I want to do. But I know I have talent and skill, including:
research skill. I can reverse engineer any dish!
I'm very good at teaching difficult concepts to people
critical thinking and troubleshooting skill, which is very much recognized by my coworkers
Design skill - one of my favorite part of my current job, and on the food side, I design my own dishes all the time.

I'm proud of those skills, but I can't put them together and envision a successful _____ (fill the blank). I mean, there got to be something I can do to fully utilize my talent!

Maybe someone here has good ideas for me:) Thanks!

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Old 07-28-2011, 11:50 PM   #2
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One thing I have learned ....It's never too late to pursue a dream. It might call for sacrifices and it may be a struggle, but in the end, only you can make the decision about the path your life will take. Hopefully, it is not a situation where an immediate decision has to be made. I found myself in such a position last year. I am now in school and loving every minute of it. For a while, I felt like I was seriously wasting my time, going to school at my age, but the truth is that learning is NEVER a waste of time. and may God forgive me for the time I have let slip away from me before I got to this point. Whatever you choose, I hope you will fare well.
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Old 07-28-2011, 11:52 PM   #3
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Being a chef is a lifestyle, not a job. Forget 40 hour weeks, evenings with friends and family, summer holidays. It is also very transient. Most chefs change jobs frequently, even cities or towns. You take crap from owners, customers, managers, executive chefs. It can be a very competitive and hectic environment. Forget air conditioning. It is a labor of love. Like some other professions, it attracts a certain type of person to endure and excel in this field.
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Old 07-28-2011, 11:57 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocklobster View Post
Being a chef is a lifestyle, not a job. Forget 40 hour weeks, evenings with friends and family, summer holidays. It is also very transient. Most chefs change jobs frequently, even cities or towns. You take crap from owners, customers, managers, executive chefs. It can be a very competitive and hectic environment. Forget air conditioning. It is a labor of love. Like some other professions, it attracts a certain type of person to endure and excel in this field.
yea, I agree being a chef is very hard work. I just don't know if I'm that type of person you mentioned. I wish I could try out a chef's job some time just to see if I can handle it.

There can be other things that I can do and do well too, other than food industry. I just don't know which! If I was a complete geek it would be easier, but I'm not. I'm kind of balanced on the left side and right side.
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Old 07-29-2011, 12:11 AM   #5
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You are lucky, making great money for someone your age. Sometimes you just have to tough it out. Others are not so lucky. Fill up your spare time doing things you love and enjoy, be glad for the time off you get, enjoy your family. Throw your heart and soul into your work while you are on the job, the higher-ups will notice. Network. Take classes, like Hoot said. Cook like crazy when you have the time. Think 20 years into the future, you will be well-off and have a good nest egg with enough for early retirement.
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Old 07-29-2011, 12:12 AM   #6
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I don't know if you want advise or not so take this wiht a grain of salt. As you well know the food industry is tough for anyone especially for a family man who is used to a lucrative salary. I would suggest that you consider starting a little catering business, say just on weekends, to satisfy those desires. But don't look to make much money at it. It might just tell you if you are meant to be in food or if you are better off where you are.
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Old 07-29-2011, 12:13 AM   #7
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the company is on the brink of mass layoff. I guess if I get laid off I should try out a restaurant job
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Old 07-29-2011, 11:29 PM   #8
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i don't know the size of your family or your financial status. i would be inclined to say go for your dream. i say that from the vantage of a senior citizen. i would have liked to do so many things in my life, that at the time were seen as to big of a risk.

when you are old you have only the regrets of time not well spent. don't be like me. go for your heart's desire. surely your spouse could work for awhile to let you at least try. good luck.
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Old 07-31-2011, 11:12 AM   #9
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This is not the time to be without a job. Changing jobs, and especially going into a job in which you have little or no experience, would be foolish. Turn on the news and listen to what the job market is like! Anyone voluntarily leaving a good paying job before be forced out by a layoff or workforce reduction, is putting their financial health at unnecessary risk.
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Old 07-31-2011, 11:55 AM   #10
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Have you considered using your current skills in a food related business or industry?
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